A promising field of nine 3-year-olds square off Sunday in the $50,000 Auburn Stakes at six furlongs.
The Auburn is the first of four open stakes for 3-year-old colts and geldings, culminating Sunday, Aug. 11, with the $50,000 Muckleshoot Derby at 1 1/8 miles.
Baja Sur drew the No. 5 post-position and is expected to go favored Sunday. Owned by John and Janene Maryanski and Riverbend Stable and trained by Blaine Wright, Baja Sur was undefeated in two starts as a juvenile and earned honors as track and state champion 2-year-old male. A bay gelding by Smiling Tiger, Baja Sur was last seen scoring by 10½ lengths in the King County Express, running 5½ furlongs in 1:03.13 and earning a 70 Beyer. Baja Sur’s had a long series of drills into his season debut, capped by a bullet six furlongs in 1:12 2/5 last Sunday.
Wright also sends out Todd and Shawn Hansen’s Perfect Dude and Fleur De Lis Stables’ Rally Cat. A son of Majesticperfection Perfect Dude beat a strong field of maiden allowance runners here April 27, running five furlongs in :57.17 while earning a 76 Beyer. Rally Cat capped a promising 2018 campaign with a sixth in the $75,000 Gold Rush Stakes last December at Golden Gate Fields.
Since the start of 2017, Wright has 21 stakes wins at Emerald Downs – the next closest trainers have six apiece – including a victory by Mucho Amor in last week’s Seattle Stakes for 3-year-old fillies.
Fuzzy Dolphin makes his 2019 debut in a new barn, with G.D. Khlasa recently taking over training duties. Owned by Michael Pollowitz and Vince Bruun, the Harbor the Gold gelding led gate to wire in the 2018 Washington Cup Juvenile Colts and Geldings, and was promoted to third while tackling two turns in the Gottstein Futurity.
Lansky, kin to four Emerald Downs’ stakes winners, comes off a sensational season debut for Casa Loma Stable and trainer Kay Cooper. The Atta Boy Roy gelding took a strong field of maiden allowance runners coast to coast and earned a solid 74 Beyer.
Runningwscissors leads the field with over $55,000 in earnings and ships up from Turf Paradise, where the Congaree colt covered six panels in 1:09.30 and earned a 75 Beyer while beating allowance foes April 14. Todo Es Toro also ship in from Phoenix and enters off a 2¾-length victory vs. Arizona-breds in the $48,000 Gene Fleming Breeders’ Derby.
Emily’s Gold steps up in class after defeating $25,000 claimers here May 4, while My Grandpa showed promise as a juvenile, defeating Fuzzy Dolphin in a maiden race last July.
The Seattle goes as the eighth of nine live races with post time 6:30 p.m.
• Average field size in stakes increased from 7.7 horses in 2017 to 8.0 in 2018, and the two stakes of 2019 — Seattle and Auburn — each drew nine entries.
• Recent Horse of the Meetings Sippin Fire and O B Harbor misfired in the Auburn Stakes. 2016 Horse of the Meeting O B Harbor finished fifth to Fooled Again in his 3-year-old season of 2015, and Sippin Fire finished fifth to Whatwasithinking last year before stringing together wins in the Coca-Cola, Seattle Slew, Muckleshoot Derby and Washington Cup.
The field for the $50,000 Auburn Stakes: 1-Perfect Dude, Jose Zunino, 117 pounds; 2-Emily’s Gold, Ryan Barber, 117; 3-Rally Cat, Heribert Martinez, 117; 4-Runningwscissors, Gary Wales, 117; 5-Baja Sur, Franklin Ceballos, 119; 6-My Grandpa, Jorge Carreno, 117; 7-Fuzzy Dolphin, Kevin Orozco, 119; 8-Lansky, Juan Gutierrez, 117; 9-Todo Es Toro, Jose Leon, 121.
Racing this week
• Friday, May 17
6:30 p.m. (7 races)
• Saturday, May 18
2 p.m. (8 races)
• Sunday, May 19
2 p.m. (9 races)
$50,000 Auburn Stakes (3YO/6F)
Exotic Animal Racing (between Races 4, 5 and 6)
Barkley climbing the earnings ladder
Sunday’s sharp comeback victory by Barkley – 5½ furlongs in 1:02.98, 90 Beyer–places the 6-year-old on a perfect course for the $50,000 Governor’s Stakes on Sunday, June 2.
Owned by Rising Star Stable III, Barkley earned $11,825 and boosted his career ledger to 10-4-1 in 18 starts with earnings of $363,625. A six-time stakes winner including the 2018 Longacres Mile, Barkley leapfrogged Flamethrowintexan into fifth place on the track’s all-time earnings list. Incidentally, Howard Belvoir trains or trained three of the top five earners in Emerald Downs’ history–Wasserman, Assessment and Barkley.
All-time Emerald Downs’ earnings
1: Wasserman $575,024
2: Stryker Phd $512,486
3: Assessment $472,744
4: Noosa Beach $465,305
5: Barkley $363,625
Elliott Bay claimed for $50,000, ties record
When Elliott Bay was claimed for $50,000 by Chad Christensen and Frank Lucarelli last Sunday, the 4-year-old gelding became the fourth horse ever claimed for that price at Emerald Downs.
Winner of the 2017 Gottstein Futurity, Elliott Bay and Cody’s Choice both were entered for $50,000 tags in the optional claimer which also featured Barkley, Sippin Fire, Oh Marvelous Me and Hit the Beach. Barkley, stable mate of Elliott Bay, won the race in 1:02.98 for 5 ½ furlongs.
$50,000 claims At Emerald Downs
June 15, 2003: Whatdidshesay
June 16, 2007: Roanaway Bride
Aug. 2. 2014: Jebrica
May 12, 2019: Elliott Bay
Through eight days, 22 horses have been claimed for an aggregate $233,750. Christensen has made seven claims for a total of $118,500.
Post time for the 144th Preakness Stakes is 3:48 p.m. Saturday. Anothertwistafate – trained by Blaine Wright and owned by Peter Redekop – is 6 to 1 third choice in a field of 13. … Nominations close Saturday for the $50,000 Hastings Stakes for older fillies and mares. The first of four open stakes for distaffers, the Hastings will be run at six furlongs on Monday, May 27. … Sunday’s $18,500 sub-feature is a six-furlong allowance/optional claimer for 3-year-olds and up featuring The Press, Grinder Sparksaglo, Trump Itz, Mixo, Take Charge Deputy and Mario Karty. … Sunday’s fifth race is an $18,500 allowance/optional claimer for older fillies and mares at six furlongs, including Emerald Downs’ stakes winners Risque’s Legacy, Fly Far Away and Little Dancer.